Chris’ chocolate, licorice and raspberry trio

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Dense chocolate ice cream with fluffy licorice meringue and acidic raspberry sauce (serves 8 people)

I love licorice. Salty, sweet, chewy, hard, soft – you name it. Being a licorice lover it often bothers me that the flavor is such a rarity in not just the dessert kitchen, but in general. I have been to Iceland twice and my family has good friends from Iceland so I remember receiving packages for Christmas with Icelandic candy while growing up. One particular flavor combination that I really liked was chocolate and licorice – something I had not tried anywhere else in the world. It is a flavor combo that I have seen very few times since although it works so very well together. A week ago I decided to buy some raw licorice root powder to try to experiment a little and bring back a distant memory from my childhood. Licorice is ‘Nordic’ and very trendy, but essentially the decision was made because I am a sucker for licorice and I wanted to rediscover the flavor combination of licorice and chocolate.

Trying to re-create childhood memories I started brainstorming. I wanted to make a dessert, which would bring in a dominant chocolate flavor with a hint of licorice. Overwhelming licorice flavor would most likely scare some people off so a subtle hint was what I was looking for. At the same time I did not want to invent or reinvent anything, but rather bring in licorice as an addition to classic flavors and textures, which was why I chose to work with ice cream and meringue. Also, both licorice and chocolate are quite heavy flavors so I needed to bring in some contrast. As the licorice has a salty dimension and the chocolate will work as the main sweetener I wanted something acidic to ‘lighten’ up the dish. I decided to use raspberry as it has a clean and crisp flavor, and accompanies dark or dense chocolate very well.

So…. Here you go. Chris’ Chocolate, licorice and raspberry trio. Enjoy!

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Chocolate ice cream
350 ml / 1.5 cup heavy cream/whipping cream

350 ml / 1.5 cup whole milk

120 g / 4 oz. semi sweet chocolate

1 dl / 0.4 cup unsweetened cocoa

1½ dl / 0.7 cup sugar

1 vanilla pod

4 egg yolks

Pinch of salt

Heat the milk and cream and bring to a simmer. Meanwhile melt the chocolate on a double boiler. Take the milk off the stove. De-seed the vanilla pod and mix the seeds with a little bit of the sugar. Now whisk in cocoa powder, sugar, vanilla sugar, melted chocolate and a pinch of salt in the warm milk and cream. In a separate bowl whisk together the four egg yolks until pale yellow and thick. Add about one fourth of the hot chocolate milk to the egg yolks while whisking vigorously, and then pour it back into the saucepan. Heat the chocolate and egg yolk mixture on low heat for about 5 minutes (until it is thick and covers the backside of a wooden spoon). Remove the mixture from the stove and leave to cool. After 45 minutes transfer the mix to the fridge and leave until completely cold, and freeze in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer to the freezer and freeze for at least one hour (several hours or even overnight is recommended).

Licorice meringue
4 egg whites

110 g sugar

110 g icing sugar

3 teaspoons raw licorice powder + 1 teaspoon to sift on top

Whisk together egg whites until they start to thicken. Combine licorice powder and sugar. Add one tablespoon of the licorice sugar at the time while whisking vigorously. Once the mixture is very stiff sift one third of the icing sugar over the mixture and fold it in with a spoon or spatula. Repeat until all the icing sugar has been combined with the egg mixture. Arrange the meringue on a baking tray and sprinkle/sift one teaspoon of licorice powder on top, and bake at 110 degrees Celsius (230 degrees Fahrenheit) for 1 hour and 15 minutes in a conventional/gas oven or 1 ½ hour in a fan oven.

Raspberry sauce

80 g / 3 oz. fresh or frozen raspberries

4 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice

4 tablespoons sugar

3 tablespoons water

Combine water and raspberries in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Mash the berries using a whisk. Strain the mixture and reserve the liquid. Heat the liquid again and add sugar and lemon juice. Reduce by one third and remove from stove. Let the sauce cool before use.

Arrange as you like and enjoy!!

Beluga scones with herbs and pecorino

Scones

Baking with lentils is awesome. Baking scones with beluga lentils is even more awesome. These scones are dense, heavy and packed with good flavor. I came up with this recipe as I though it would be interesting to make black (or very dark) scones. I was not sure whether I should boil the lentils first or grind them to a flour, as boiling them would make them loose some of their color and make the scones lighter in color. I figured that if I boiled the lentils in very little water and used the reserve water to intensify the color of the scones, I would still preserve the beautiful color. They are darker inside than outside.

These scones are really delicious! Make sure that you have a food processor that does not give up on you. The dough is like glue and therefore you need a powerful kitchen tool to make the dough.

Beluga scones with herbs and pecorino

2 dl beluga lentils

3 tablespoons fresh thyme

3 tablespoons fresh tarragon

60 g. pecorino

35 g. butter

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons cane sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

4 dl. All-purpose flour

2 eggs

Salt to taste

Boil beluga lentils in salted water (enough water to cover the lentils by 2 cm/1 inch) for 15 minutes. Drain and reserve the rest of the water. In a food processor combine lentils, flour, butter, 3 dl of the reserved water, thyme, tarragon, pecorino, olive oil, baking powder and sugar and blend until smooth. Taste with salt and add the two eggs.

Using two spoons make 9-10 equally sized scones on a baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil and a pinch of sea salt. Bake at 180 degrees Celsius for 35 minutes.

Enjoy!